Notes From The Cotswolds… Home by Penny Parkes
I have to confess that I’ve completely lost track of the days of the week. Somehow, knowing whether it’s Tuesday or Friday is both crucial and utterly irrelevant. Because, let’s face it, most days are pretty similar right now, walking the tightrope of emotions; from happy tears at news of loved ones’ vaccination appointments, to raging at the half-truths, loss and cronyism blighting our little island, and also – often as not – just wondering how long it is until bedtime.
But today is a really special day for me, because I get to share with you the cover for my new novel and talk about the story that began with an idea that simply wouldn’t leave me alone.
It was back in 2019 – in a world where we could travel anywhere – and, as usual, I was living vicariously in the wee small hours. Scrolling through my Instagram feed, past property listings for dream houses, international travel blogs and stylish interiors – none of which bore any relation to my life at all. And yet…
The seed was sown, because the concept of the word ‘home’ stayed with me – how it means different things to all of us. Is it where we live? Who we live with? Or just part of the façade that we present to the world – whether it’s an accurate reflection or not!
And so began the story of Anna Wilson, a professional house-sitter who spends her life taking care of other people’s homes, their pets and sometimes even their neighbours. Living vicariously all over the world. Looking for her own place to call home.
Anna’s childhood bouncing around the foster care system means that she has become very skilled over the years at reframing her life to make it more palatable for those around her, becoming the ultimate chameleon. But she’s stuck now – stuck in this carousel of other people’s lives, trying to work out what she really wants, or needs, for herself.
And what, for her at least, ‘home’ might actually look like.
This book is really close to my heart because it’s ultimately a book about friendship. Over the years, Anna’s friends have become her family of choice and this book gradually evolved into a kind of love letter to that enduring platonic love, the kind that has the power to shape and even validate your adult life and choices.
And within that, I hope Anna’s inner pretzel will resonate with you a little too, as she shelves her authenticity in favour of fitting in, not causing ripples, just wanting to make life easier. Diluting herself. And haven’t we all been guilty of that from time to time? Perhaps you may even cheer a little as Anna finds the strength to take steps in reclaiming agency over her own future, irrespective of the opinions around her. Making bold choices about friendships and ambition and what it is in her life that really, truly matters.
I hope that this gorgeous cover from the team at Simon & Schuster will tempt you to peek behind one of these doors. These beautiful doors that each signify a different home, a different way of living perhaps and – just possibly – a different future for Anna Wilson.
Stay safe, stay well if you can, and let’s travel together this year through the wonder of books.
A gripping and heartfelt story about overcoming the past and finding where you belong. Compelling, rich and evocative, Home is Anna’s journey to discovering that it isn’t where you settle down that matters, but the people you have around you when you do.
‘Moving, hopeful and heartfelt… an ideal book group read’ AJ Pearce, author of Dear Mrs Bird
‘I loved this warm and touching story about home, belonging, and finding your way in the world. Vivid, evocative and beautifully written, with a message of hope at its heart’ Holly Miller, author of The Sight of You
‘A gorgeous, thoughtful read’ Catherine Isaac, author of The World at My Feet
‘Clever, warm and funny, Penny writes with a big heart, a light touch and supreme confidence. Home will be on all the best bookshelves! The ultimate comfort read’ Veronica Henry, author of A Wedding at the Beach Hut
‘As heartbreaking as it is uplifting, this book wouldn’t leave me. I loved it’ Katie Fforde, author of A Wedding in the Country
‘A delicious read: warm, witty and full of emotional truth’ Caroline Sanderson, THE BOOKSELLER
‘Hopeful and captivating’ Cari
‘A moving, emotional read’ ***** Karena
‘The story unfolds wonderfully’ **** Netgalley Review
‘A really lovely and comforting read’ **** Shelby
‘Well-constructed and thoughtful’ **** Netgalley Review
‘A heartwarming story about finding your place in the world. I really loved it’ ***** Rachel
‘A beautiful, captivating and hopeful novel’ ***** Netgalley Review
‘A cracker of a book!’ **** Rachel
‘A very enjoyable story’ **** Sharon
‘I loved this book. It was so heartfelt and thoughtful’ ***** Kirsty
‘very poignant’ ***** Jeanie
‘very emotional’ **** Netgalley Review
‘Without a doubt one of the the most captivating books I have read’ ***** Victoria
‘This is a fantastic book and will be recommending it to all of my friends’ ***** Claire
‘Sometimes you read a book that genuinely touches your heart. Home did that to me’ ***** Nicki
‘This book touched my heart’ ***** Hannah
‘So beautifully written with a rollercoaster of a ride of emotions’ **** Lucy
‘A moving, gripping heartfelt story. It’s an absolute must read’ ***** Shirleyann
‘A stunning, emotional book’ ***** Karen
‘I loved following the story of Anna and seeing her grow throughout the book’ **** Laura